My Copyediting Sins

Forgive me, father, for I have sinned against my copyeditor.

I’m going through the copyedit of The Ghost Brigades and I am appalled — appalled, mind you — at the sheer number of immensely stupid grammatical errors I have made in the course of the writing. Things as fundamental as the "that/which" grammar rule — which I know, by the way — are wantonly peppered through the manuscript. My only saving grace is that at least I was consistent in my screw-ups.

One does wonder if the copy editor sits there reading, clucking sadly to him or herself at the monstrosity of grammar which (that!) lie (lay!) before them (him! Or her! Pick one!) and thinking I’m gonna have to waste an entire blue pencil on this one before bringing said pencil down in a savage orgy of correction, correction, correction.  And then the manuscript is returned to the author, silent (but not wordless — oh, no, not wordless) rebuke on every page. You know, I know a nice freshman composition teacher who can tutor you, it seems to say.

Yes, I’m reading too much into it. But you should see how much blue is on this manuscript. It’s as if it came back from the editors with the note: "Congratulations! It’s a boy!" 

To all copyeditors everywhere who will one day have the misfortune of receiving one of my books to edit: Sorry. I’m really not an idiot. Thank you in advance for making me look good. And naturally, this goes double for the copy editor of The Ghost Brigades. When the finished book comes out, you won’t see his hard work, because that’s the nature of the copyediting gig. But let me assure you: Oh, it’s there.

Post Script: The first person who copy edits this entry in the comments is so going to get deleted. Yea verily, and the second one, too! And so on! Don’t tempt me, man.